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2005 Outback 2.5i - 5 speed - 191K
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Discussion Starter #1
I will be installing new front struts in the next week or two. I am familiar with the usual strut compression tools however I found another one at Harbor Freight that looks interesting. I am wondering if anybody has had experience with the different compression tool listed below.

Here is the one I believe everybody is familiar with and what I'm most commonly see on YouTube

https://m.harborfreight.com/macpherson-strut-spring-compressor-set-63262.html

This is the alternate tool for sale at Harbor Freight.

https://m.harborfreight.com/single-action-strut-spring-compressor-43753.html

I was wondering if anyone has used the second tool posted above. It seems slightly safer than the other version since there are not three points of contact. Let me know anyone's thoughts.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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The second tool does NOT work for Subaru front springs. I have tried it. It doesn't work all that well for the rears.

I find that having (3) compressors fakest the front much eiser. You compress the spring partially then add a compressor in a new position and keep working that way. That mean (2) sets of compressors.
 

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2005 Outback 2.5i - 5 speed - 191K
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Discussion Starter #3
The second tool does NOT work for Subaru front springs. I have tried it. It doesn't work all that well for the rears.

I find that having (3) compressors fakest the front much eiser. You compress the spring partially then add a compressor in a new position and keep working that way. That mean (2) sets of compressors.
Fantastic, that is the answer I was looking for. I have to say that this vehicle forum is probably the best I have seen. I have been doing work on my girlfriend's Ford Explorer and getting any valid information from users on that board is hit or miss and it takes a long time to get answers.
 

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On the Super Mod Squad
2002 Pair: 3.0 VDC Wag & 2.5 Limited Sedan
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Fantastic, that is the answer I was looking for. I have to say that this vehicle forum is probably the best I have seen. I have been doing work on my girlfriend's Ford Explorer and getting any valid information from users on that board is hit or miss and it takes a long time to get answers.
moved to the parts section.

alternative typically mentioned in these similar threads:

taking the things to a pro shop or a big parts store with a "big" compressor that makes quick safe work of it.
 

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2009 3.0R Outback
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I used the old style el-cheapo ones HF used to sell, which are knock-offs of the Ken-Tool 39730. Got the job done, but I was clenching hard the whole time. Could have used some deburring on the grippy ends as they left some deep gouges in the spring coating. A little black nail polish fixed that though. I don't think the new style will work very well because of the shape of the grippy ends.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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Plastixx;5674797I don't think the new style will work very well because of the shape of the grippy ends.[/QUOTE said:
The new style works OK, the are the same as what AutoZone rents. The heads are bigger than their old claw style. So this makes the front a challenge to to clearances and the amount of spring and compression you can get. That's why I use 3.
 

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The new style works OK, the are the same as what AutoZone rents. The heads are bigger than their old claw style. So this makes the front a challenge to to clearances and the amount of spring and compression you can get. That's why I use 3.
More meat, less bending.
 

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When I replaced the shocks in my struts I did the rear's with those tools without much issue but the front's were a PITA - just not enough coils to grab. Ended up taking them to the shop and paid $10 for a pair for them to swap them out. They have the wall-mounted compressor that does it quickly and safely.
 

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The new style works OK, the are the same as what AutoZone rents. The heads are bigger than their old claw style. So this makes the front a challenge to to clearances and the amount of spring and compression you can get. That's why I use 3.

Ah, it just looks like the center line of the hook is too close to the nut and it would hit the seat or mount, depending on which orientation you use them. At least if you're only using one set and going for maximum clamping width. Even with the old style I had a difficult time getting a socket on and had to keep going back and forth between each side so spring wouldn't bend to one side. I was using a cordless impact wrench though; couldn't imagine trying to use a combo or ratchet.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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Ah, it just looks like the center line of the hook is too close to the nut and it would hit the seat or mount, depending on which orientation you use them. At least if you're only using one set and going for maximum clamping width. Even with the old style I had a difficult time getting a socket on and had to keep going back and forth between each side so spring wouldn't bend to one side. I was using a cordless impact wrench though; couldn't imagine trying to use a combo or ratchet.
<<<Exactly What He said >>>
 

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Ah, it just looks like the center line of the hook is too close to the nut and it would hit the seat or mount, depending on which orientation you use them. At least if you're only using one set and going for maximum clamping width. Even with the old style I had a difficult time getting a socket on and had to keep going back and forth between each side so spring wouldn't bend to one side. I was using a cordless impact wrench though; couldn't imagine trying to use a combo or ratchet.
FYI it's not advisable to use an impact wrench on a screw-type clamp. My understand, done repeatedly, the 'impacts' can create divots in the screw. Better to use a cordless ratchet.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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FYI it's not advisable to use an impact wrench on a screw-type clamp. My understand, done repeatedly, the 'impacts' can create divots in the screw. Better to use a cordless ratchet.
Yes true. It does wear them out, lubricant helps.
 

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They were thoroughly greased with Ceramlub. I know it wasn't ideal, but the impact wrench is the only thing I have that's powerful enough to get the job done. I've had those spring compressors for 7 or 8 years and that's the first time I even used them. Who knows if/when they will be used again. Thanks for the warning though.
 

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2006 Outback Wagon 2.5i
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Buy two kits of spring compressors from Harbor Freight, I bought one set and had to go back for a second. As others have said there aren't enough coils on the front spring to grab, you start with two and compress the spring enough to expose another half-coil.
 

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Some of you folks are pretty brave.

There some jobs where I trust HF tools..........compressing springs isn't one of them.
 
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I usually replace the strut as a unit including the springs. It is worth the extra cost.
 

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Some of you folks are pretty brave.

There some jobs where I trust HF tools..........compressing springs isn't one of them.
Yeah, I have a set of cheap spring compressors, not sure where I got them some 25 years ago, but of Harbor Freight level quality. I don't mind using them for regular coil springs like on older solid-axle cars and trucks where the springs almost fall out on their own when you disconnect the shock and let the axle down. In those cases you barely have to put any tension on the spring to get the job done. But I've seen them used on struts and I won't have anything to do with that without the proper tool. I've seen them break and I've seen them just slip and the result is not good. Fortunately I've never seen anybody get hurt when they failed but I learned to just get out of the area if anyone was going that route.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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Some of you folks are pretty brave.

There some jobs where I trust HF tools..........compressing springs isn't one of them.
Meh....

You don't want to see my top 10 of ...do not do this. HF spring compressors don't make the top 20. Talk about worry over nothing. It's 98% user error when a spring compressor causes injury. If not 99.98%. There is more misinformation/dis-information spread about spring compressors and DIY failure as there is rear sway bar upgrades.

I have actually spun a nut off the top without protection, I'm still here. Sure it shot 10'. If my melon was over it, I might be dumber. But I would have to be retarded for it to kill me.
 

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Last time I used a strut compressor, they slipped and flew across the room with such force that they would probably have killed anyone in the way. For the DIY'er, you can remove the old ones from the car, buy the new cartridges and drop them off at the dealer or repair shop. Either that or have 911 on speed dial.
 

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Master Caster
2005 XT, Mildly Modified...2006 XT Limited, Highly Modifed
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Last time I used a strut compressor, they slipped and flew across the room with such force that they would probably have killed anyone in the way. For the DIY'er, you can remove the old ones from the car, buy the new cartridges and drop them off at the dealer or repair shop. Either that or have 911 on speed dial.
Awe, come on now, you are scaring the kids.
 
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